I don’t know about you, but I despise television commercials. I hate the advertisements that pop up between songs on Pandora Radio or Spotify. I especially dislike browsing the Internet on my phone or laptop and being bombarded with pop-ups that take ten clicks to get rid of. This type of advertising simply does not work as well as it used to. We click past the messages or change the channel to block out the unwanted noise so easily that we may not even process the message before shutting it out. So…what’s a company to do?
Brush off the dust and jump in with content marketing.
Social media and digital strategies are becoming more and more popular in the PR world and therefore, the business world. One of the big advantages about using social media in your business is that it gives you the option to use content marketing. In my opinion, content marketing is actually pretty similar to advertising with a few subtle, but effective differences. This process is more strategic and considers the long-term goals as well as the short-term. It markets to a very specific audience. It can potentially be cost-free if you use social media strategies. Arguably, the most important aspect of content marketing is that it is relevant.
It is important that your content is original and interesting of course, but strategically planning when to post certain types of content, which platform to post on, and reacting quickly to social media trends are what separates good from great. For example, the big controversy about what color #thedress is was a trending topic recently. The Salvation Army used this as a chance to create a PSA about domestic violence towards women. Normally, this would probably get a decent amount of publicity but relating the message back to something the public is raving about gets you that extra mileage you need. Why? Because it’s relevant to something your audience is now interested in. This makes it far less likely that the public will scroll past your Tweet or Facebook post and far more likely that they will share your message or engage with the company or others talking about the company or the trend. Neat, huh? Check out this article to learn more about the tweet.
An aspect of content marketing that I think is particularly effective is learning to sell a product without actually selling it. Here’s a Coca-Cola commercial from the Super bowl this year.
Not once do they say “Coke is awesome” or “drinking Coke will make you happy.” Instead, they are trying to convince the public to associate Coke with happiness or spreading positivity. Perhaps you think this type of advertising has never worked on you. However, would you not agree that your are more likely to support a company or buy its products if they have similar beliefs or values to yours? What if they make you feel great about yourself or doing something nice for others? Associating those kinds of emotions with a company is a powerful strategy that organizations use today to persuade their publics, even though the public may not realize it.
If you’re still struggling with the concept of content marketing, here are some links that may help you out. Until next time, on PR Talk.
http://coschedule.com/blog/visual-content-marketing/ (Visual content marketing. I loved this blog post!)